A guide to loft conversions

Loft conversions are more popular than ever in Ealing, Twickenham and Chiswick. It’s no surprise though, not only are they an attractive way to increase the amount of space in your property, but they can also add significant value to your property should you decide to sell up in the future.

But there is a lot that goes into planning and carrying out a successful conversion.

The main types of loft conversions

While no two loft conversions are the same, there are certain types of conversions that you can choose from.

The simplest option is the velux loft conversion. This is where you simply convert the unused space into a liveable area. This has the benefit of being the cheapest option, and it also does not affect the exterior of the property with only minor work required.

A hip-to-gable conversion is where you extend the sloping side of the roof at the side of your property and essentially convert it into a vertical wall. If you do this on both sides of your property, it’s called a double hip-to-gable conversion.

The dormer loft conversion is a very common type of conversion. This is where you extend an existing sloping roof so that it projects out from the roof and creates a large amount of extra space. The additional interior space comprises vertical walls and horizontal ceilings, creating more space than an angled conversion.

A mansard loft conversion is where you create an additional area with a flat roof, usually at the back of building. It requires the most work, and it is often the most expensive, but it creates a larger amount of interior space. Planning permission may also be required because the structure of the roof is altered.

Choosing your window styles

The windows play a large role in any loft conversion. They introduce natural light to the space, and they are one of the main features that can affect the appearance from the inside and outside. There are various styles of windows you may want to consider.

Rooflights, or roof windows, are simply windows that are placed into the sloping roof. Conservation rooflights made from traditional cast iron are more expensive, but they are a good option for period buildings.

Dormer windows are vertical windows that are set into the roof and project upwards. They create extra space in the conversion, providing a standing space within the sloping roof.

Gable-end windows are standard windows that are fitted into the vertical walls at the side of the building, and their main role is to allow extra light into the conversion.

The type of window styles that you choose will depend on various factors, including the view from your home, the style of your property and the type of loft conversion you have chosen.

Do you need planning permission?

In general, you don’t require planning permission for loft conversions because they are usually considered to be permitted developments. However, this is only the case if they meet specific conditions. If you alter your roof space or extend it beyond these conditions, you might need planning permission.

The main thing to consider is the area of the additional space you are creating, which must be no greater than 40 cubic metres for terraced houses. For detached and semi-detached houses, the limit is 50 cubic metres.

At the front of the building, the extension should not reach further than the existing roof slope. It should also extend no higher than the highest part of your existing roof.

Materials used in the conversion should be similar to those used in the rest of the building, and conversions cannot include balconies or verandas.

If your house is on designated land, which includes national parks and conservation areas, the rules are different so you might need to get permission for any type of loft conversion.

Make sure you find out well in advance if you require planning permission because it can take a long time to sort out, which can delay your project. We can help you with this, and you can also find information on the Planning Portal website.

Even if you don’t need planning permission, you might need a Party Wall Agreement. This is required when your conversion will affect your neighbours and it consists of an agreement between both parties. You can find out more about these at the Gov.uk website.

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How much will it cost?

The cost of your loft conversion will vary based on various factors including the type of conversion you are carrying out, its size and the style of your property.

However, as a basic guide, for a velux loft conversion where you convert your loft into a habitable room without making any changes to the construction, it will usually start at about £15,000.

For a larger dormer loft extension, the starting price is usually about £35,000. And if you have to change the roof structure during the conversion, you can expect costs to start at about £40,000.

How to use your loft conversion

One of the great things about loft conversions are that they are so versatile. There is an almost endless range of options when it comes to deciding on a purpose for the extra space in your home.

Some of the most popular options include using the space as a spare bedroom, home office or extra bathroom (placing a bath under the sloping roof is an efficient way to make use of the space).

However, you could use the space however you want to, including as a living room, games room, children’s bedroom or a playroom.

Planning your loft conversion

If you’ve got any further questions about loft conversions in areas local to Ealing, Twickenham and Chiswick then we’re happy to answer them. Feel free to contact us, and we’d love to help you create your dream loft conversion to improve your home and increase its value.

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